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Old Jan 16, 2005, 11:13 PM   #1
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I have read nearly every post in this forum and I hate to be another "need lens advice for my new camera" poster but I am a little confused.

I got the 300d kit, based on what I read around here a lot of folks like it for a general purpose lens. Now, before the rebate ends I am considering (also based on what I read around here) picking up the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM and the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM.

I also own a Sigma 28-80mm (rechipped for the 300D).

I like to shoot everything. Sometimes close up insects on flowers, abstract buildings, people, sometimes landscapes. But probably the most is of course the kids, mostly indoors in incandescent light and lots of activity. So far with the kit lens I find it very difficult to shoot indoors without a flash.

I am really not expecting one lens to do everything, just trying assemble a good general purpose kit.

Does this seem like a poor assortment? Should I consider an alternative.

DD
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 12:59 AM   #2
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If you are going to be shooting indoors with kids and people a lot, I would recommend adding an external flash to that wish list. Check out the Canon 420ex or the Sigma 500DG Super. A more powerful flash would probably solve your low light indoor problems.

David
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 12:33 PM   #3
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Thanks David.

Since I am on a limited budget would you suggest dropping one the lenses for the light? Which one?

Thanks

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Old Jan 17, 2005, 11:11 PM   #4
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Consider the Sigma and the 550 flashes before deciding on the 420. Look up the specs and do some more online searches to help you decide. Whatever you get, look for tilt & swivel so that you can (also) bounce flash off the ceiling, whatever the camera orientation. I think all the flashes mentioned so far have tilt & swivel.

I've heard mixed things about the 28 1.8. Some say that it's better than the 28 2.8, some say that it's worse (in terms of sharpness). If it's close, I'm inclined to not recommend it. I did a detailed comparison of the 28 2.8 vs. a 17-40 4.0 L, and came away with the conclusion that the 28 2.8 is not worth it, and that the 17-40 is superior. Regarding the 2 or so stop difference -- that's something, but not so critical in a wide angle. I'd bump up the ISO to 800 / 1600 and reduce noise in post-processing if really needed. With the additional capability that the 17-40 provides, I think it'sa much better buy.

I also think that you should get a 50 1.8. It'sa great lens optically, definitely superior to the 28's. One hopes to get a lens like the 50 at a wide angle -- I did, and that's why I tested the 28 -- but the 28 isn't up to that calibre. It's a bargain, fastand a good length for some portraits. IMO, you should get one even if you have other lenses covering 50, and even if you decide afterwards to get a 28 prime / etc.

Now, the 17-40 is redundant in focal length with your kit 18-55. In this view, you can postpone / skip the purchase of the 17-40 and get something else instead. The 28-135 is a valid alternative, as is the 70-200 f/4 L.

If you must get a 28 / fast wide prime, I'd probably recommend the f/2.8 instead -- mainly because it's cheaper, and there is some validity to the claims that the 1.8 is not optically superior (Photodo rates the 2.8 higher, even not considering f/1.8 (which would likely to be weaker though faster)). The Sigma 20 1.8 is another lens that I'd consider based on what I've heard. However I haven't tried one myself. The Canon 35 f/2 is also among the more popular "wide" angle lenses.

In my view, it makes sense to spend the most money / attention on the lens that you use the most. I guess that you're looking at the 28 in this view. The 17-40 L gets my vote in this regard -- for me, it's a lens that I can use 90% of the time, and is superior to the 28.

Of course it gets used 0% of the time that I need reach. The 28-135 can fill some of this role well. The various 70-200's also work very well. I have the 17-40, 50, and 70-200 f/4 L and 1.4x TCmyself, and I should add that I don't really miss the gaps between 40 and 50 and 50 and 70.

The EF-S 17-85 IS also comes up in such discussions. From what I've read, it's definitely inferior to the 17-40 L. Again with the 90% usage & focused excellence perspective, in my view the 17-40 is to be preferred.

Finally, the 17-40 is definitely better than the 18-55 kit lens, but the 18-55 kit lens is not so bad that you'll fall off the chair when you see the results with the 17-40 (although you might when you get your bill...) Just a little caution. If you want to be amazed by optical quality, the 50, 70-200 and other telephotos are more likely to do the job. Great wide angles are hard to make. The 17-40 has very nice build, focusing and zoom quality, and is optically superior to most others, including the high-priced 16-35 f/2.8 L in some respects, but is not the final word in what we'd like here. This is why I compared it with a 28 -- I had more hopes for that lens. I came away instead with a re-confirmationof the 17-40.

Now if some of the Zeiss engineers moved to Canon, or if we could afford full-frame digital, things might be different..
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Old Jan 18, 2005, 12:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. I will take the advice and pick up a 50mm f/1.8 for sure. The L lenses are a little out of my budget so I am still leaning toward the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. In addtion start shopping for a good flash.

After reading up on the flash I see that the 580ex is the one to have since it syncs at any speed. Although many folks prefer the Sigma 500 DG. Does the 500DG also sync at any speed? I am not completely sure how important that feature is?

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Old Jan 18, 2005, 5:34 AM   #6
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I've been using the 28-134 IS lens for a year and it has stayed on my 300D for 90% of the time. To be able to shot at very low shutter speed is a plus. Overall a good lens, much better optic quality than the 18-55 kit lens but certainly not the opric quality of an L lens. I am considering getting the Tamron 17-35 lens for lanscape shots. Many of the consumer reports state this lens is optically equal to the Canon 17-40 L lens.

harryp
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